Despite the sport’s growing popularity in the region, Bali has been left off the trail-running map. But now a new race promises to make Bali a runner’s destination, writes Kris Van de Velde.
Trail running in Indonesia has become quite renowned, with the many volcano runs on the various islands offering stunning scenery for those brave enough to deal with the heat and the often very strict cut-off times. But Bali, arguably the best known of the Indonesian islands for mainstream tourists, has been surprisingly absent from the trail running calendar. That’s about to change, however, as Plataran L’ Harmonie proudly presents the first ever BNI Plataran X Trail in West Bali National Park at the end of this month. It’s a new annual international trail running event that caters to runners of all levels. The event is organised by the Plataran Indonesia hospitality group in conjunction with BNI Bank, Kuai Sports Promotions and Egon Trails. The focus is to shine a bright spotlight on environmental consciousness and sustainability; the winners of the 50- and 25-kilometre races will be given a once-in-a-lifetime experience: they will get to release a rescued Bali Starling – a protected heritage species that the race organisers have “adopted” on behalf of the winner – back into the wild.
Each year, the Plataran X Trail will represent a diff erent cause in line with its commitment to environmental protection, the local community, wildlife and sustainability. In future editions, you might expect to see a baby turtle release, for instance.
The BNI Plataran X Trail 2017 has been accredited with the Asia Trail Master Candidate Race label, and expects to see 500 participants for its first edition on July 22. Notable participants include two current Asia Trail Master champions Manolito Divina (Philippines) and Tahira Najmunisaa Muhammad Zaid (Malaysia). Hosting the event is Plataran L’Harmonie, a luxury eco lodge nestled inside West Bali National Park. The hotel is dedicated to showcasing the park’s natural beauty as well as driving home its message of sustainability and responsible tourism. The various cross-country and nature trails can be enjoyed by runners of all abilites – from the 50k for experienced endurance runners, the 25k for intermediate competitors, and the 7.1k for families and casual racers. With an aim of attracting running enthusiasts from all over the globe, the event will also host culinary and cultural activities to turn the event into a real holiday and provide entertainment for support teams and other non-runners. The scheduled races take runners over a predominantly flat course with little elevation gain. Combined with a very generous cut-off time, even the 50k should not deter people who find their running pace to be not so fast. As long as you can endure and cope with the unavoidable heat, you will be fine. West Bali is actually off the-beaten track, with relatively few tourists venturing so far from the Kuta-Ubud-Nusa Dua triangle. Generally, adventurers will only find their way tothis surprisingly unspoilt area aft er visiting the volcanoes of East Java. The National Park is a place to truly wind down, and Plataran L’Harmonie the best place to do so.
Find out more on the event website www.plataranxtrail.com.
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